Kreationismus im Schulunterricht in den USA

Ein neues Gesetz im US-Bundesstaat Tennessee erlaubt es Lehrern, neben der Evolutionstheorie auch den Kreationismus im Schulunterricht zu behandeln, schreibt Casey Selwyn.

Der Fall

Am 11. April 2012 wurde im US-Bundesstaat Tennessee ein Gesetz erlassen, das Lehrer schützt, die sich dazu entscheiden, im Unterricht  an öffentlichen Schulen neben der Evolutionstheorie auch den Kreationismus zu behandeln. Der Gouverneur des Staates, Bill Haslam, befand, dass das Gesetz an den wissenschaftlichen Standards der Schulen nichts ändern werde, und weigerte sich, das Gesetz zu unterzeichnen. Jedoch war er auch nicht dazu bereit, sein Veto einzulegen, und verhinderte somit nicht, dass das Gesetz gültig wurde. Damit wurde Tennessee zum zweiten Bundesstaat mit einer derartigen Rechtslage. Zuvor hatte im Jahr 2008 bereits Louisiana das sogenannte Gesetz zur “akademischen Freiheit” erlassen. Dieses Gesetz gibt vor, Lehrer unterstützen zu wollen, die “Schülerinnen und Schülern dabei helfen wollen, die Stärken und Schwächen existierender wissenschaftlicher Theorien zu verstehen, zu analysieren und sie kritisch zu untersuchen und zu beurteilen.”

Jedoch beschränkt sich das Gesetz nicht nur auf die Evolutionstheorie. Auch die Erderwärmung und das Klonen menschlicher Lebewesen dürfen angefochten werden, obwohl alle drei Theorien unter Wissenschaftlern breite Akzeptanz geniessen. Kritiker haben das Gesetz bereits als “Affengesetz” bezeichnet, weil in Tennessee 1925 im Zuge des “Scopes Monkey Trials” ein Mann namens John Scopes verurteilt wurde, weil er die Evolutionstheorie unterrichtet hatte (obwohl er später von einem Berufungsgericht freigesprochen wurde). Kritik widerfuhr dem Gesetz von vielen Seiten. Es wird befürchtet, dass es andere Bundesstaaten in ihrer Absicht bestärken könnte, ähnliche Gesetze zu verabschieden, und es wird argumentiert, es sei ein weiterer Rückschritt im Kampf um bessere mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Schulbildung in den USA. Andere Kritiker wenden ein, das Gesetz verstosse gegen die Trennung von Staat und Kirche. Jedoch glauben die Befürworter, dass durch das Gesetz unter Schülern eine gesunde Skepsis gegenüber allgemein akzeptierten Theorien unterstützt wird und dass “kritisches Hinterfragen und Analysieren zu guter wissenschaftlicher Arbeit beitragen.”

Meinung des Autors

Die akademische Freiheit und kritisches Denken sind zwar Grundvorraussetzungen für gute Wissenschafts- und Bildungspolitik, jedoch glaube ich nicht, dass das in Tennessee erlassene Gesetz diese Prinzipien unterstützt. Erstens hat Tennessee seine eigene Einstellung zur Meinungsfreiheit klargemacht, als der Bildungssausschuss des Repräsentantenhaus des Staates am 18. April 2012 ein “Sag-niemals-schwul”-Gesetz verabschiedete. Dieses verbietet es Lehrern, im Schulunterricht über Homosexualität zu sprechen. Zweitens gibt das Gesetz einer religiös geprägten Meinung Platz im Schulunterricht, obwohl es eine Klausel enthält, die besagt, dass keinerlei “religiöse oder nicht-religiöse Doktrin vorangetrieben wird.”

Gute wissenschaftliche Arbeit baut auf das Prinzip der Meinungsfreiheit, da sie ein Höchstmaß an rigorosen Tests fordert und unbewiesene Behauptungen nicht akzeptiert. Jedoch wird Schülern ein verzerrtes Bild der Fakten präsentiert, wenn im Lehrplan diskreditierte Theorien Platz haben, die keinerlei rigoroser wissenschaftlicher Untersuchung unterzogen wurden. Während sowohl gute wissenschaftliche Arbeit als auch die Meinungsfreiheit erfordern, dass das kritische Hinterfragen wissenschaftlicher Theorien möglich ist, so ist es nicht angemessen, dass die Redefreiheit zur Verteidigung des Kreationismus herangezogen wird. Wenn Eltern oder Kirchen Kindern den Kreationismus erklären wollen, so ist dies völlig akzeptabel. Der Kreationismus kann jedoch im Schulunterricht nicht als wissenschaftliche Theorie dargestellt werden. Dies würde die im Ersten Zusatzartikel zur amerikanischen Verfassung festgeschriebene Religionsfreiheit verletzten, wie zum Beispiel ein Urteil des Obersten Gerichtshofs der USA aus dem Jahr 1987 zeigt, in dem entschieden wurde, dass das Unterrichten des Kreationismus neben der Evolutionstheorie gegen die Verfassung verstößt.

- Casey Selwyn

Weiterlesen:


Kommentare (14)

Kommentare können bei Bedarf mittels Google Translate übersetzt werden. Klicken Sie dazu die Übersetzungsfunktion unter den Kommentaren an. Bitte beachten Sie dabei, dass die Übersetzungen maschinell erstellt werden und nicht unbedingt akkurat den Inhalt wiedergeben.

  1. With Karl Popper, I think that theories must be debated in the light of possible alternatives. Which in case of evolutionism means: in the light of creationism resp. intelligent design.
    That implies that the most interesting aspects are the tentative refutations of Darwinism, its flaws and open questions.
    Understood in this way, the Tennessean law is quite reasonable – not as a teaching of two theories independent of each other.
    Above all, I don’t think that the children are really endangered by creationism. In fact, evolutionism is rather unimportant for great parts of modern science, and there are a lot of chemists, physicians etc. who support kinds of creationism without any damage to their professional efficiency.

  2. this is great but it must be in the fashion that the teacher is not pushing this idea to be truth but merly to inform. This is a thinking of our world and it should not be shunned. This is way of thinking and just just as physics is or that we evolved from monkey or didn’t. All a just a way of thinking and should be explored.

  3. integrare un istruzione di base religiosa, in particolare in una nazione come gli USA che si dichiara atea di principio, e‘ un forte controsenso e per quanto mi riguarda un errore perché sopratutto se viene integrato il creazionismo cattolico si dovrebbe insegnare l’equivalente di tutte le altre religioni se si intende insegnarlo con il pretesto di aumentare la basa di conoscenze

  4. I don’t see what the „Don’t Say Gay“ legislation has to do with this issue, except to demonstrate that the Tennessee legislature is pursuing a Conservative social agenda, and interfering with school curricula to do so. It seems to me obvious that teachers in Tennessee schools should be free to teach about homosexuality and about creationism, that children in Tennessee schools need information and discussion on these subjects. The discussion, of course, should be truly open. That is what needs to be guaranteed.

  5. Also, thank you for such thought-provoking responses!

  6. Here is another interesting view on the topic:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-moshman/should-creationist-teache_b_1496480.html

    The author brings up the point that the academic freedom laws should be applied to all subjects, to ensure that students understand that what they are taught in history or literature is open to debate. How do you think all of these arguments apply to an issue like Holocaust denial? Are they comparable, or is there something about ‚hard science‘ that separates it from all else?

  7. Whoa. I don’t think this has to do with the quality of teachers so much as the religious views of the state (so much for separation of church and state there.) If someone wants to teach Creationism, I believe they should be able to do so, but within the context of the religion that proclaims it. Comparing it to Evolution is not inherently evil either. When it is set up as scientific truth though, is when I find fault with the law and the education system.

  8. I completely agree with that . It is a good point to be comented in schools , and it opens many “doors“ for teach about another things involving creationism .

  9. Sure, creationism should technically be allowed to be taught in a science class under free speech, but any teacher who would even think about doing it should not be hired in the first place. It would be like teaching biology in a history class; it just doesn’t make sense.

    Teaching creationism in a science class shouldn’t be forbid, but any credible science teacher wouldn’t teach it to begin with. If anything this is more an issue with the quality of High School science teachers than with the curriculum itself.

  10. I agree

  11. I want to manifest my great indignation with these news. I cannot believe that in a 21st century USA, we find such an important flaw in education.
    I completely agree with Casey Selwyn when he or she talks says that this is a complete defense of the Creationist agenda, even if the defenders are trying to argue that it is better for the critical analysis skills of children and to teach them freedom of speech. If we wanted to see this situation turned around, we would be spending half of a mass as usual, and the other we would be dedicating it to speaking about evolution and how everything that has just been said is a lie and false. That does not sound like a good way of making the believers think that what they are being told in massI want to manifest my great indignation with these news. I cannot believe that in a 21st century USA, we find such an important flaw in education.
    I completely agree with Casey Selwyn when he or she talks says that this is a complete defense of the Creationist agenda, even if the defenders are trying to argue that it is better for the critical analysis skills of children and to teach them freedom of speech. If we wanted to see this situation turned around, we would be spending half of a mass as usual, and the other we would be dedicating it to speaking about evolution and how everything that has just been said is a lie and false.
    Not only this, but these teachings of Creationism are purely Christian, and with the enormous cultural variety in the United States, it is even insulting for other religions and also atheists, that this is being taught in schools.
    The church is the house of religion, and schools and universities are the houses of science. One cannot break in into the other’s house through institutional orders. Like Selwyn says, the US is supposedly a country with freedom of religion, and these kind of changes degrade this freedom.
    School and science are here to teach specific facts which are scientifically tested and proven. The theory of evolution falling into that category and Creationism obviously not, this situation is for me is medieval and a step backwards in USA culture and even human evolution.

    • Oh is it? Please list the inaccuracies and state why exactly my comments are in any way irrelevant. Religion has, and will for the centuries to come deter mankind’s goal of achieving a better society. Each year thousands are cornered and discriminated against simply for having different religious views. In fact I can go all day listing reasons why religion is ultimately one of the greatest tragedies that ever happened to mankind, however as bashing religion is not the sole purpose of comments I will try to justify my point from a different point of view.

      To start with, it seems that your view is very idealistic. A human is not a retinal creature who will weigh his/her own alternatives unbiasedly and see which one makes more sense. Many succumb to peer pressure and brainwashing easier than you would expect. You say that one should ridicule but not outlaw the teaching of religion in schools, but how exactly does that help? It is clear that there is a wide support in the Southern States to promote religion. Ridiculing them wouldn’t help as the residents of such states are mainly right-wing conservatives, many of who do not just consider creationism as a plausible alternative to theory of evolution, but in their sheer arrogance consider it to be the only true course of events. Therefore their attempts are nothing more but to influence and brainwash the kids in their formative years into buying this evangelical propaganda. Of course, they are still a long way to go to have creationism taught as the main „theory“ in the classrooms, but that does not mean that „we“ should let them further their agenda until it gets to the critical level. I therefore consider that necessary that actions must be taken now as the repercussions of this kind of passivity might one day affect our own children in a rather negative way.

    • I couldn’t agree with you any more. Thousands of different religions have existed througout the history of mankind each one slowing the scientific and social progress of the people. This is not only insulting to atheists and to peoples of other religions but anyone with common sense.
      Religion (of any kind) is one of the greatest obstacles mankind has ever faced in its goal of achieving a better world. Had Darwin never questioned the origin of species and blindly accepted as a fact that every species in this world was created by a Christian God in first week of the creation of universe, much of the modern medicine would never exist. Had Copernicus never questioned the Earth’s position in the Universe, there would be no revolution in science and astrology, ultimately leading to many great scientific discoveries. Same goes for other scientists who have over and over questioned the religious writings to bring mankind prosperity. Imagine now, how much more advanced the human species would be had there never been such thing as a religion?
      This leaves me with one question: How hypocritical are those Conservative Republican politicians to question the Theory of Evolution while enjoying all the benifits (medicine, technology etc.) which arose from questioning what they try preach at schools?
      Another thing which I would like to add is the confusion that arises around the term „Theory“ in „Theory of Evolution“. Many consider the word „Theory“ to mean „a proposition“ or „a hypothesis“, while that is utterly not true. There is a very clear distinction between the terms, and in order to avoid the confusion, the word „Theory“ should be understood as a word „fact“. All the evidence compiled from the beginning of Darwin’s „theory“ 150 years ago support evolution and there is yet to be any disprovable theory to be put forth to even start questioning the „Theory of Evolution“

      • Your diatribe against religion is both rife with inaccuracies and irrelevant to the case at hand. However:

        Teaching creationism in school shouldn’t be outlawed or prohibited, but it should be ridiculed. To me this question speaks of more serious underlying issues than a simple question of free speech. Public primary schools, for all their significance in the development of a nation’s future, must be held to a high standard of education, and to imply that substituting mythology for accepted scientific thought is useful as a means of enhancing critical thought is ludicrous.

        The underlying agenda is evident, and the fact that there are even attempts at a legal justification for it speak of a worrying fusion of church and state still present within some parts of the States.

Kommentieren Sie in einer Sprache Ihrer Wahl

Unsere Empfehlungen

Streichen Sie mit dem Finger nach links um alle Highlights zu sehen


Das Projekt „Debatte zur Meinungsfreiheit“ ist ein Forschungsprojekt des Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom am St Antony's College an der Universität von Oxford.

Die Universität von Oxford